Amy is a 31-year-old financial advisor working in downtown Los Angeles and living in Atwater Village. Her career is finally taking off, and she doesn’t have much time to date. But while she’s not trying to get pregnant right now, she is trying to preserve her fertility – through egg freezing.
Many women in Los Angeles are in Amy’s situation: not ready for a baby now, but not ready to watch their fertility decline, either.
As a woman ages, the quality and quantity of her eggs diminish, making it harder to get pregnant as time passes. Even if an older woman achieves a pregnancy naturally, her chances of miscarriage increase with her age.
With egg freezing, women can press pause on their fertility until they are ready to start a family – and live life on their terms.
RMA of Southern California founding partner Dr. Thomas Kim is a leading national expert on egg freezing, having authored a landmark research paper on egg freezing in 2002. In this Q+A, he explains everything you need to know about freezing your eggs in Los Angeles.
What is egg freezing?
Dr. Kim: Egg freezing is a fertility preservation method for women who are postponing childbearing. This technique preserves women’s eggs in their current state, so they no longer age.
Who should consider egg freezing?
Dr. Kim: Any woman approaching her mid-30s, who wants to delay childbearing, should consider freezing her eggs. Women with certain medical conditions, like cancer, should also consider freezing their eggs prior to undergoing treatment that may cause damage to eggs.
What is the egg freezing process like in Los Angeles?
Dr. Kim: First, the patient undergoes hormonal injections for about 10 days to stimulate egg growth. During this time, the patient needs to be seen at least every other day in order to monitor her progress. At the end of the 10 days, her doctor will perform a minor 10-minute procedure called an “egg retrieval.” During this procedure, the doctor will retrieve as many eggs as possible from the ovaries. Those eggs are instantly cryopreserved until the patient is ready to use them.
When should I freeze my eggs?
Dr. Kim: Because egg quality and quantity decline with age, women considering freezing their eggs in LA should do it sooner rather than later. For optimal results, I recommend that patients freeze their eggs before their mid-30s.
How long can I keep my eggs frozen?
Dr. Kim: Once frozen, the egg quality will not change. So patients can theoretically keep them frozen for as long as they need to – until they are ready to use them.
How many eggs do I need to store to achieve a successful pregnancy?
Dr. Kim: This depends on the patient’s age, as egg quality declines with age. In order to achieve one successful pregnancy, here are how many eggs we typically aim to retrieve and cryopreserve:
Age < 35: 12 eggs
Age 36 – 40: 15 eggs
Age 41+: 20 eggs
How much does egg freezing cost in LA?
Dr. Kim: The cost of egg freezing is roughly the same as an IVF cycle, which is approximately $10,000. This includes all testing and monitoring, medications, and the procedure itself. The first year of storage is also included. We understand these costs can be high for many patients, so there are financial programs in place that may provide assistance. Patients should also contact their insurance company to verify their full benefits, as some providers offer coverage.